Monday, December 19, 2011

PV2 PETE'S JOURNEY FOR HELP-PART 8

PV2 PETE'S JOURNEY FOR HELP IS A LOOK-SEE AT THE THOUGHTS AND HEART OF A YOUNG SOLDIER WHO RETURNED TO IOWA FROM DEPLOYMENT TO AFGHANISTAN.  HE IS FACING SOME REAL STRUGGLES INTEGRATING INTO "NORMALCY".  HIS STORY, WHILE UNIQUE, IS ONE THAT MANY OF THE 2,800 THAT DEPLOYED IN JULY OF 2010 AND RETURNED HOME THE SUMMER OF 2011 ARE EXPERIENCING IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER


I could tell even before I asked the question to PV2 Pete.  It was apparent from the way he was carrying himself, that things weren't any better.....hopefully they weren't worse.  But still, I needed to ask the question.  "How you doing, Pete.....what's up?", I slid out.  "Sir, not a whole lot better.  It seems wherever I go, people are so tied up in this and that.  It sure doesn't seem like anyone has any time for me", he offered.  "How so?", I asked back.  "Ok, for example, I went to the Christmas Cantata this weekend at church.  I saw two people from the Care Core area and neither one acknowledged me.  I was like five feet in front of them and they acted like I was invisible.  Didn't give me the time of day.  I tried to get their attention, but it was like they were in their own little Christmas world and couldn't be bothered", he offered.  "I'm already half...no more than half-upset at the rudeness of the director in not getting back to me about cancelling our meeting last week.  "Hey, I'm not asking for the world, just some common courtesy and follow through, you know?", he said.

I thought about Pete's last comments long and hard.  Yes, he had a point.  I've experienced the same type of behaviors he listed......most of us have at one time or another.  Often times the more in need you are, the more sensitive you are.  Little things become big things, then they become elephant-like.  "Pete, let me ask you a question", I said.  "What would you want done for you if you were them? 

"Well first off, I would never, let someone down.  If I said I was going to do something, I would darn well do it", he suggested.  "And more importantly, I would try and offer Hope to anyone who I met with.  "But what if you couldn't?", I asked.  "What if you let someone down.....through no fault of your own.  Maybe your workload was so overwhelming that you were about to explode. Or maybe you had reached a point where you couldn't help yourself any more than someone else.  Then what?"

As Pete and I talked further he was able to see some things he hadn't realized before.  A different picture of his situation was beginning to emerge. "You know sir, this helped alot today", Pete said.  "I've been wanting someone to wave a magic wand and make it all better.  But what I really need is someone to direct me down the right track and after that, then it's up to me.  I'm beginning to see things from another perspective.  Thanks, this is awesome".     

The remainder hour of time together at Panera Bread sped by quickly.  We both savored the taste the mocha drinks left on our pallets.  And the people watching that day was excellent.  We saw a varied group to say the least. This was the best time we'd spent together in our short two month friendship.  We'd made some real headway in communicating.  His situation and my understanding of my own were clearer to us both.  Yes, clarity was emerging......    

Events look different when viewed in retrospect.  Many of us are living in one of those times right now.  Are you greatly troubled, wondering what the future holds?  In times of uncertainty, we may not see an angel as Mary did, but I believe one is there.  I believe that God is with you and with me, and we may recognize it more in uncertain times than in ordinary ones.  Certainly God has more of our attention then.  Often, only in retrospect do we see that God was there, working in the midst of our uncertainty.  God is with us, at Christmastime and always.

God is working in the midst of our Uncertainty
Last week, I spoke with Chaplain Wayne Van Dekrol of Osklaoosa, Iowa.  The Chaplain was part of the 2,800 Iowa Guard delegation that returned home this summer from duty in Afghanistan.  He had some very candid remarks about reintegration. "I'm pretty bored being back", he told me.  "I haven't been able to replace the adrenalin rush that took place while we were doing our mission work.  It's been hard for me to get excited about anything....and I know that's bothers my wife.  We're moving into the Holiday period and that's going to be a very crucial time for all the troops.  Depression and suicide and very common", he mentioned.  

It was amazing to hear the Chaplain speak so openly.  I couldn't resist thinking...if a pastor is struggling with these life issues, how much more difficult could it be for others?  To PV2 Pete, Chaplain Van Dekrol and the other 2,798 Soldiers it bears reinforcing some words that were mentioned above, because they speak the truth.  GOD is working in the midst of our uncertainty...at Christmastime and ALWAYS.


YGG,

John

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